The disastrous results of trying to “have it all”

Summary: The positive effects of Third Wave Feminism have been front page news for two decades. Now the ill effects begin to emerge from behind the propaganda fog — visible to those who care to see. Seeking the ideal work-life balance is the easy part of “have it all”, whose frequent failure produces the lesser destructive effects. Here’s the more important problem.

Having It All: Love, Success, Sex, Money Even If You're Starting With Nothing
Available at Amazon.


Third Wave feminism has been one of the biggest forces reshaping America. Not the Riot grrl fringes, the political nonsense about oppression, and academic gibberish about intersectionality) – but the revolution in gender roles.

Revolutions require a promise to attract the masses. The French revolted for the promise of “Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité”. They got none of the three – only a ruined nation (never recovering its glory and role in Europe). Now women march seeking to “have it all.” The revolution began with works such as Helen Gurley Brown’s 1982 book Having It All: Love, Success, Sex, Money Even If You’re Starting With Nothing.

The public focus of feminist advocacy has been having great careers and fantastic marriages (here’s a fun attempt by the NY Times to disown this advice). This prompted a second wave to the Third Wave, describing how society prevents women from having it all – and how it must change so that they can do so (e.g., this 2012 article in The Atlantic by Ann-Marie Slaughter kicking it off).

While influential among women upper middle and upper classes, this movement had little effect on the rest of America. Most women worked to live, without fulfilling careers. They worked to have families, doing so without housekeepers and au pairs.

But another dimension of having it all was a big success, sweeping across America like a tsunami. It offered women a decade of sexual freedom and experimentation (lots of exciting bad boys!), followed by marriage to a nice beta provider (i.e., respectful, does half the chores) – with the option of divorce and child support after children are in school. Young women are ruining their lives in pursuit of this ambitious goal.

You should sleep with at LEAST 25 guys before settling down, and I’ll tell you exactly why
by Amanda Ross at Babe — “Ideally more, but y’know, whatever.”

This is a milder version of revolutionary words by Sheryl Sandberg (COO of Facebook) in her best-seller Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead (2013).

“When looking for a life partner, my advice to women is date all of them: the bad boys, the cool boys, the commitment-phobic boys, the crazy boys. But do not marry them. The things that make the bad boys sexy do not make them good husbands. When it comes time to settle down, find someone who wants an equal partner. Someone who thinks women should be smart, opinionated and ambitious. Someone who values fairness and expects or, even better, wants to do his share in the home.”

This is the advice, indoctrinated into American girls for generations. It produced the confused narratives that comprise much of the meToo movement (such as “Grace’s” story) and a thousand pitiful stories like Sarah’s in yesterday’s post.

In the rush for women to have it all, nobody asked what the revolution did for men. Or if men would be interested in marrying the products of the revolution, the “sassy, sophisticated, solvent women“, and even the “amazing, attractive, intelligent, …highly educated, very successful women” — often with long active sexual histories.

Closing of the American Mind
Available at Amazon.

Allan Bloom predicted today’s situation with eerie clarity in his 1987 book Closing of the American Mind.

“Women are pleased by their successes, their new opportunities, their agenda, their moral superiority. …

“The men have none of the current ideological advantages of the women, but they can opt out without too much cost. In their relations with women they have little to say; convinced of the injustice of the old order, for which they were responsible, and practically incapable of changing the direction of the juggernaut, they wait to hear what is wanted, try to adjust but are ready to take off in an instant. They want relationships, but the situation is so unclear. They anticipate a huge investment of emotional energy that is just as likely as not to end in bankruptcy, to a sacrifice of their career goals without any clarity about what reward they will reap, other than a vague togetherness.

“Meanwhile, one of the strongest, oldest motives for marriage is no longer operative. Men can now easily enjoy the sex that previously could only be had in marriage.

“Under such arrangements the family is not a unity, and marriage is an unattractive struggle …”  {See the rest of the passage here.}

Little Girl Looking to a dark Future

What comes next?

We can only guess. Already women complain about their inability to get men to marry them (examples here). Many young men say that they are unlikely to marry. If this becomes widespread, a generation of women seeking to have it all will get little. Less than the husband, house, and children that their mothers had. That will be bitter for young feminists who felt themselves superior to their unwoken mothers.

I believe that future historians will see the gender revolution as the major social change of our time (footnotes will mention that other stuff also happened). How will they evaluate its net effects?

Beyond that are the effects of Fourth Generation Feminism — the fluidity of gender and sex. Time will tell its effects, but they might prove to be even larger than those of the first three waves.

For more information

If you liked this post, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. See all posts about women and genderabout feminismabout romanceabout marriage, about ways to reform America, and especially these…

  1. Will today’s young men marry? America’s future depends which of these answers is right.
  2. The revolution in gender roles reshapes society in ways too disturbing to see — Bloom on relationships.
  3. Love in the new world, after the gender wars — Allan Bloom on the ‘fall of Eros.’
  4. Important: For Father’s Day: revolutionary words that will forever change the American family.
  5. Mark Regnerus’s essay: Cheap Sex is the Inconvenient Truth in the end of marriage.
  6. A look at America’s future after marriage becomes rare.
  7. Misadventures of a young woman in modern America.

Two books by Professor Regnerus about the revolution.

Mark Regnerus is a professor of sociology at the University of Texas at Austin. See his website and Wikipedia entry.

Premarital Sex in America: How Young Americans Meet, Mate, and Think about Marrying (2011).

Cheap Sex: The Transformation of Men, Marriage, and Monogamy (2017).

Premarital Sex in America: How Young Americans Meet, Mate, and Think about Marrying.
Available at Amazon.
Cheap Sex: The Transformation of Men, Marriage, and Monogamy
Available at Amazon.


6 thoughts on “The disastrous results of trying to “have it all””

  1. Pardon me for pointing this out but speaking as a woman, nobody has ever questioned a man’s freedom and opportunity (if not necessarily his ability) to “have it all” — certainly not in the sexual context. At least in Western culture, there was a double standard for thousands of years which gave men tacit permission to have sex with “bad girls” not only before but during marriage to a “good girl” (who was expected to remain chaste before marriage and passively submit to her husband’s demands during marriage) — and there are indications that this double standard is probably still with us to some degree. In all fairness, this is in large part due to the fact that Western society and American society in particular has experienced a massive paradigm shift on multiple fronts within living memory (sexuality being just one of them) and dramatic changes like this take a long time to settle comfortably into place…not just years but decades or even centuries.

    Once the toothpaste is out of the tube, it’s extremely difficult to get it back in the tube. No matter how nostalgic some people might be for the days of Ozzie and Harriet and wish we could go back to that, I don’t think we will — partly because in the same way that a lot of women aren’t living like a Cosmo Girl now, a lot of people actually didn’t live like Ozzie and Harriet back in the 1950’s. (The fact that so many American women were taking tranquilizers so that they could conform to what society expected of them is proof of that.) Both Ozzie and Harriet and Helen Gurley Brown’s Cosmo Girl are idylls in the true sense of the word — very appealing but not very realistic and probably not achievable for most people, certainly not sustainable. I think it’s important for people to recognize these images for what they are — a representation of an ideal, but one which can be very easily used by the popular media to influence opinion or encourage people to consume in the hope that they will get just that little bit closer to that image. It’s all of a piece, really…just a variation on a theme.

    It’s been my opinion for many years now that like everything else in this world, marriage as a societal institution will either need to adapt to the changes which are taking place or else find itself becoming obsolete or even extinct. Change is a universal law — stasis is a condition which is not naturally sustainable and which tends to get harder the longer you try to maintain it, and whatever remains static tends to stagnate. A lot of people these days clearly don’t find marriage everything it’s cracked up to be…otherwise, the divorce rate wouldn’t be as high as it is (and statistics suggest that with each subsequent marriage, the risk of divorce only goes up). I can only speak for myself — but personally, I’m of the opinion that marriage is somewhat overrated and has definitely been over-romanticized in this culture. I think this is especially true for women, who even now are still being subtly encouraged from the time that they’re little girls (via Barbie and Disney) to think that they have somehow failed if they don’t have a partner. Society still encourages women to believe that their primary fulfillment not only should be found but will be found in marriage…which might not necessarily be true, or at least certainly not across the board. It is interesting, is it not, that as many as seventy percent of divorces are actually initiated by the wife and not the husband? It would appear that marriage is for whatever reason not delivering the kind of emotional fulfillment that society has always promised and insisted it would.

    Actually, throughout most of recorded history, marriage has been (and in some parts of the world, still is) primarily an economic and pragmatic rather than emotional transaction in which a woman — or at least as often as not, not her but a member of her family — has offered a man sexual access and fertility in return for financial security for the woman and the children she will bear him. This was in large part because human children are incapable of caring for themselves for the first years of their lives and needed someone to provide for them but people also generally accepted the idea that women couldn’t possibly provide for themselves because they were inferior to men not only physically but intellectually. Whether some people are comfortable with this or not, the past fifty or sixty years has proven that women are every bit as intellectually capable as men — and the discovery of the Pill not only freed women from needing to stay with a man for the sake of the children (since they had a reliable means of making certain they did not get pregnant) but also freed men from being pressured into marriage so that they could have sex.

    1. Larry Kummer, Editor


      “nobody has ever questioned a man’s freedom and opportunity (if not necessarily his ability) to “have it all” ”

      That’s amazingly false. I mean, it is WOW levels of false. Socialization of young men has been considered a high priority for society since forever. In America, that was considered the job of parents — and if they could not do so (so often the case), young women had to recruit men into the rat race.

      This is the subject of countless plays, books, and films. My favorite in this genre is “Man and Superman” by Shaw.

      It is also a common theme in westerns. Such as films in which John Wayne is a young cowboy living the fun wild life — lassoed and domesticated by a pretty girl. See Angel and the Badman and Tall in the Saddle. A more modern fun example is Cary Grant as an beachcomber in Father Goose. A grim but powerful exploration of this theme is the play and film A Thousand Clowns.

      Until the welfare state, women needed men unless they wished to be celibate and alone. It was men that needed women “like a fish needed a bicycle.” Leisure, booze, drugs, games, sports, comradeship are enough for most. Men had to be persuaded to give up all that for a different life — nobody thought they could “have it all.”

      But women still need men, at least to help with child-rearing for a few years — then to pay child support. But our non-patriarchal society gives men little in return, and they are slowly realizing it.

    2. “speaking as a woman…”

      Irrelevant, correct?

      “nobody has ever questioned a man’s freedom and opportunity (if not necessarily his ability) to “have it all” ”

      I in fact read the rest of your comment, but after those words, there is really no need to do so.

  2. The west is in decline. Demographically it is dying and being replaced by others.

    Whose fault? No one to blame but the West.

  3. I’ve seen what the author talks about in up close.

    I went out with 12 or more women from work all professionals with degrees that laughed about how a man should be 6 feet, in shape, big D and alpha. Most were out of shape but there were a few hot ones that bragged about sleeping with dozens of boys.

    They still married beta men, had a kid or two then they all divorced. December 2017 and I gave up on marriage because women aren’t women anymore and these were supposed to be the good girls.

    I have almost never seen a women treat her husband respectfully in my life, it seems they all use us to earn tons of money so they can sit on our couches and get fat. I’m 37, in near perfect shape with an excellent career and work ethic. I want 20 year olds only. I have treated women with respect all my life and was a doormat, all I want now is hot sex with 20 year olds that I missed out on. F 30 year old women they are nothing. –

    That is just one story I have more, all of them end with an entitled little girl in her 30’s think she deserves everything and can tell a man what he can do or say.

    1. Larry Kummer, Editor


      Where – in what region — do you live? Urban or rural? I’ve wondered how these trends have spread.

      “I have almost never seen a women treat her husband respectfully in my life”

      Go a Mormon church. I’ve met quite a few thru Boy Scouts. They tend to be well-balanced, seem happy, very feminine. I hear they have a low divorce rate.

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